Queen's Speech: Fox hunting return plans ‘kicked’ out

Downing Street has confirmed that Theresa May's bid to overturn the fox hunting ban has been firmly kicked into the long-grass.

The issue was not mentioned in the Queen's Speech and Mrs May's spokesman signalled it would not feature in this parliamentary session.

Mrs May caused outrage when she indicated she would offer a vote on lifting the ban during the election campaign, in a moment that came to epitomise her administration's departure from the centre ground.

The Prime Minister was forced to leave out a raft of policies included in her election manifesto from the Queen's Speech after failing to win a majority on June 8.

Among them was the plan to give Parliament a vote on whether to overturn the ban on fox hunting, which appeared to anger opponents and even some advocates of the sport who did not want the issue thrust to the top of the political agenda again.

After the election result came in, ministers pointed to the pledge along with the U-turn on social care as a point when the campaign had gone off the rails.

Speaking after the Queen's Speech today, Mrs May's official spokesman was asked about the prospects of the vote taking place, answering: "That's not a priority".

The Prime Minister says she supports fox hunting because other ways of killing foxes are 'cruel'.

Fox hunting with hounds was outlawed by Tony Blair's Labour government in 2004 but successive Conservative manifestos have pledged to bring the animal killings back.

A plot by pro-hunt Tories to bring back the spot was revealed in a leaked email this month. Lord Mancroft, the chair of the Council of Hunting Associations, described the June 8 date as “the chance we have been waiting for” to overturn the ban.

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